Encore Performances

2017 Was Tough to Top in the Midwest, But There Are Plenty of Pros Coming Back For More This Year

Golf’s spotlight shone brightly on the Midwest last summer as the game’s greatest converged on Erin Hills in tiny Erin, Wisconsin, to compete in the 117th U.S. Open.

More than 200,000 spectators traveled to southeastern Wisconsin as the Open returned to the Midwest for first time since 2003, when Olympia Fields (Illinois) Country Club played host.

In 2018, the U.S. Open moves eastward to New York’s Shinnecock Hills, but as one major leaves the region another fills the void. The 100th PGA Championship returns to prestigious Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis in August. Bellerive previously hosted the tournament in 1992. Worth noting is that 2018 will be the last time the PGA Championship will be played in mid to late summer. In 2019, the event will make a permanent move to the month of May and become the second major championship on the calendar following the Masters in April.

Meanwhile, two new events are on the golf calendar for this summer. The inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be played at venerable Chicago Golf Club, America’s first 18-hole course. The event, to be held July 12-15, will feature both professional and amateur players in the 50-plus age group.

The PGA Tour Champions is adding two new events to its 2018 calen-dar with one set for Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The Ally Challenge will be played the week of Sept. 10-16 and for many on the senior circuit it will be a homecoming of sorts as Warwick Hills was the long-time home of the now defunct Buick Open. The names of many current PGA Tour Champions players dot the Buick Open’s list of champions.

Here is a rundown of the 2018 events in the Golftime region:

 

2018 Pro Golf Preview

April 26-29, Newburgh, Indiana

Web.com Tour

UNITED LEASING & FINANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Victoria National Golf Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Lee Dong-hwan

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: South Korea’s Lee Dong-hwan won by a stroke on one of the more demanding courses on the Web.com Tour.

 

May 21-27, Benton Harbor, Michigan

PGA Tour Champions

KITCHENAID SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Harbor Shores

DEFENDING CHAMP: Bernhard Langer

TV: Golf Channel/NBC

THE SKINNY: This Champions tournament returns to Benton Harbor, which hosted the major in 2016.

 

 

May 24-27, Ann Arbor, Michigan

LPGA Tour

VOLVIK CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Travis Pointe Country Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Shanshan Feng

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: ShanShan Feng’s victory was her first in the United States since 2013.

 

May 31-June 3, Dublin, Ohio

PGA Tour

THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT

COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Jason Dufner

TV: CBS/Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Jason Dufner overcame a four-shot deficit in the 2017 final round to win by three strokes.

 

June 4-10, Des Moines, Iowa

PGA Tour Champions

PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC

COURSE: Wakonda Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Brandt Jobe TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Brandt Jobe posted a one-stroke victory in 2017. Since 2007, the event has contributed approximately $13.5 million to Iowa’s children’s charities.

 

June 8-10, South Bend, Indiana

Symetra Tour

FOUR WINDS INVITATIONAL

COURSE: Blackthorn Golf Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Kendall Dye

THE SKINNY: American Kendall Dye’s 11-under 205 lifted her to a three-stroke victory.

 

 

June 7-10, Chicago, Illinois

Web.com Tour

RUST-OLEUM CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Ivanhoe Club
DEFENDING CHAMP: Stephen Jäger

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Germany’s Stephen Jäger took home the championship with a two-stroke victory over American Ted Potter Jr.

 

June 14-17, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LPGA Tour

MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC FOR SIMPLY GIVE

COURSE: Blythfield Country Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Brooke Henderson TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Canadian Brooke Henderson captured the 2017 championship with a two-stroke victory over Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.

 

June 15-17, Decatur, Illinois

Symetra Tour

DECATUR-FORSYTH CLASSIC

COURSE: Hickory Point Golf Course

DEFENDING CHAMP: Chorphaka Jaengkit

THE SKINNY: The Classic is the longest running tournament on the LPGA Symetra Tour and the third longest running women’s golf tournament.

 

Fred Couples acknowledges the crowd as he walks up the 18th fairway en route to winning the 2017 American Family Insurance Championship.

June 18-24, Madison, Wisconsin

PGA Tour Champions

AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: University Ridge Golf Course

DEFENDING CHAMP: Fred Couples

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Fred Couples shot a bogey-free final round to win year two of the tournament.

 

June 22-24, Harris, Michigan

Symetra Tour

ISLAND RESORT CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Sweetgrass Golf Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Emma Talley

THE SKINNY: The eighth annual championship will have a purse of $150,000.

 

June 25 July 1, Springfield, Illinois

Web.com Tour

LINCOLN LAND CHARITY CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Panther Creek Country Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Adam Schenk

THE SKINNY: American Adam Schenk won a four-man sudden-death playoff with a birdie on the second playoff hole.

 

 

June 28-July 1, Kildeer, Illinois

LPGA Tour

KPMG WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Kemper Lakes Golf Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Danielle Kang

TV: NBC/Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: The LPGA Tour major made its Chicago- area debut in 2017 at Olympia Fields CC where Danielle Kang earned her first professional victory by one shot over defending champ Brooke Henderson.

 

July 5-8, Oneida, Wisconsin

LPGA Tour

THORNBERRY CREEK LPGA CLASSIC

COURSE: Thornberry Creek at Oneida

DEFENDING CHAMP: Katherine Kirk

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Year Two of the tournament at the official golf course of the Green Bay Packers.

 

July 9-15, Highland Park, Illinois

PGA Tour Champions

CONSTELLATION SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Exmoor Country Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Scott McCarron

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: The Senior Players Championship is one of five majors on the Champions tour. Scott McCarron fired a final round 6-under 66 to defeat Bernhard Langer and Brandt Jobe by one shot.

 

July 12-15, Sylvania, Ohio

LPGA Tour

MARATHON CLASSIC

COURSE: Highland Meadows Golf Club

DEFNDING CHAMP: In-Kyung Kim

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: A new USGA championship. Eligibility for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open championship will be limited to professional and amateur female players, age 50 and older.

 

 

July 12-15, Silvis, Illinois

PGA Tour

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC

COURSE: TPC Deere Run

DEFENDING CHAMP: Bryson DeChambeau

TV: CBS/Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Bryson DeChambeau became the 21st player to make the John Deere Classic their first PGA Tour career victory.

 

 

Aug. 2-5, Akron, Ohio

PGA Tour

WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS – BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

COURSE: Firestone Country Club (South)

DEFENDING CHAMP: Hideki Matsuyama

TV: CBS/Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Hideki Matsuyama’s final round 61 tied the course record. That round included seven birdies and an eagle.

 

 

Aug. 9-12, St. Louis, Missouri

PGA Tour

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Bellerive Country Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Justin Thomas

TV: TNT/CBS

THE SKINNY: The PGA Championship marks its centen- nial at Bellerive, which last hosted the event in 1992.

 

Aug. 10-12, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Symetra Tour

PHC CLASSIC

COURSE: Brown Deer Park Golf Course

DEFENDING CHAMP: Brittany Marchand

THE SKINNY: Canadian Brittany Marchand shot a 13-under 203 to win the 2017 championship by three strokes.

 

 

Aug. 16-19, Indianapolis, Indiana

LPGA Tour

INDY WOMEN IN TECH

COURSE: Brickyard Crossing Golf Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Lexi Thompson
TV: Golf Channel
THE SKINNY: With her 2017 win at the inaugural championship, Lexi Thompson became the first woman to kiss the famous yard of bricks in victory.

 

Aug. 17-19, Battle Creek, Michigan

Symetra Tour

FIREKEEPERS CASINO HOTEL CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Battle Creek Country Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: Erynne Lee

THE SKINNY: Erynne Lee recorded seven birdies in her final round to win the championship by two strokes.

 

Aug. 23-26, Columbus, Ohio

Web.com Tour

NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Ohio State University Golf Course – Scarlet Course

DEFENDING CHAMP: Peter Uihlein

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: American Peter Uihlein earned the 2017 victory in only his third start on the Web.com Tour.

 

The PGA Tour Champions’ inaugural Ally Challenge will be played at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, once home to the Buick Open.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2, Cleveland, Ohio

Web.com Tour

DAP CHAMPIONSHIP

It won’t have Tiger Woods this year (soon enough), but Warwick Hills Country Club returns to the pro circuit with the Tour Champions’ The Ally Challenge.

COURSE: Canterbury Golf Club DEFENDING CHAMP: Nicholas Lindheim TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: California native Nicholas Lindheim sank a 35-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a three-way playoff to win the 2017 championship.

 

Aug. 30- Sept. 5, Blaine, Minnesota

PGA Tour Champions

3M CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: TPC Twin Cities

DEFENDING CHAMP: Paul Goydos

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Paul Goydos defeated Gene Sauers on the first playoff hole to win the 2017 title.

 

 

Sept. 10-16, Grand Blanc, Michigan

PGA Tour Champions

THE ALLY CHALLENGE

COURSE: Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club

DEFENDING CHAMP: N/A

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: The inaugural championship puts the spotlight back on Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, known for being home to the Buick Open that ended in 2009.

 

Oct. 15-17, French Lick, Indiana

LPGA Legends Tour

SENIOR LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: The Dye Course

DEFENDING CHAMP: Trish Johnson

TV: Golf Channel

THE SKINNY: Trish Johnson went wire-to-wire to win the first-ever Senior LPGA Championship last year.